by Fritzroy Austin Sterling
When Josephine strutted into Saturday Morning, the Sky King of both horizons parted the early morning fog and the long, narrow road ahead looked like a never-ending runway.
By then, word of her arrival had spread and the grapevine had sprung into full swing.? She had arrived late last night and had checked into a room at the motel near the bus station, etc., etc.? And, lawd, you should see the way she dresses?.
As Josephine approached the town square, she sensed the eyes that set upon her as she passed by colorful concrete houses. She smiled as she imagined stealthy old women with trembling hands pulling back curtains and pressing cataract pupils upon window panes.
She incited whistles and cat calls from a group of young men when she flashed her long locks, and she added two or three extra swishes to her strut, her buttocks a beautiful display of the choreography, the click of her stilettos a thrilling soundtrack to Saturday.
The grapevine exploded!
Bold little boys ran alongside her; church ladies tripped over themselves getting to one another?s houses, their lips dripping with gossip; some men seduced her with silent eyes, their lust protruding from their pants; younger girls admired her sense of style; and the elderly continued to press cataract eyes upon window panes, their own versions of the event gleaned from the vicarious grapevine.
It was the most excitement this small farming community had seen since Jerome Turner had caught his brother Andy Turner and Tommy Thomas, Pastor Thomas? son, kissing in the church a year ago. The boys, both 16, were naked.
Pastor Thomas is a strong, strapping, scrupulous man of scripture. He assailed evildoers and nonbelievers every Sunday with a big, booming voice without end.? He had grabbed his ?prodigal son? and dragged him to the town square. For the ravenous grapevine and the entire town, Pastor Thomas turned Tommy Thomas into a pillar of salt and laced him with pestilence.
His baritone boomed like thunder. Tommy Thomas left town under its barrage.
Andy Turner had since mostly kept himself confined to his family?s farm. Whenever a compulsion pushed him into the public, he hung his head low, laded as it was with the loss of love.
Jerome Turner planned to approach and talk to Josephine at the first opportunity. When she walked past the post office and turned onto the dirt road that led to the Turner farm, he simmered in a sentiment of delight. He made a hasty homeward dash.
According to the grapevine and the all-knowing elderly, when Josephine found Andy Turner and held his hand, his head lost all its laden, and he looked into someone?s face for the first time in fourteen months.
Andy Turner and Tommy Thomas were kissing when Jerome Turner walked into the barn. They were naked. Josephine?s jeans and wig were spangled among the garments strewn about them.
Fritzroy Austin Sterling? was trained as a journalist at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus and wrote briefly for Inter Press Service (IPS) in 2006. He became disenchanted with the gathering/ delivery of news and worked as communications manager and communications instructor.? In 2009 he served as editor-at-large for Mary, a literary quarterly.? He is currently finishing up his (never-ending) novel? in Berlin, Germany. Oh, and he is a top-notch procrastinator.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.